Meditation at North Beach Park, Burlington by Anne Whitehouse

Meditation at North Beach Park, Burlington | Anne Whitehouse

Thickly wooded Juniper Island
rises from the lake
within swimming distance from shore.
The sloping peaks of the Adirondacks,
misty blue and far off in the distance,
belong to heaven and not to earth.

From the beach I watch a storm 
gather from the mountains, 
then sweep over the lake. 
Whitecaps form on the surface.
It is like the sea, 
and it is not like the sea.

Rain falls in large drops
propelled by a breeze,
and a canopy on aluminum poles 
topples on the beach, 
somersaulting erratically.

Under a shelter,
students and faculty gather
at an impromptu party
celebrating recent graduates.
I eat strawberry-rhubarb pie
tasting of summer. 

I think of the mountains, eons old.
When they were formed,
fault lines pushed yellow dolostone
above the dark shale,
the older stone above the younger.

Now I am old,
I want to impart history.
Shivering children in wet bathing suits
wrap themselves in towels.
Sometimes the young listen politely
and sometimes impatiently, 
propelled towards lives
that haven’t happened yet.

I feel my hold on life growing tenuous,
like those islands farther off—
the Four Brothers—like steppingstones
appearing to float in the blue 
without moving at all.

About the Author:

Anne Whitehouse’s most recent poetry collection is OUTSIDE FROM THE INSIDE (Dos Madres Press, 2020), and her most recent chapbook is ESCAPING LEE MILLER (Ethel Zine and Micro Press, 2021). A new chapbook, FRIDA, about Frida Kahlo, is forthcoming from Ethel Zine and Micro Press in December 2022.